A professional chartered librarian, Susanne Jennings has worked in Cambridge University libraries for the past 17 years. She has worked part-time at St Edmund’s library for a number of years and was appointed College Librarian in 2018. For two years, she worked concurrently at St Edmund’s and as Subject Librarian at the Woolf Institute where she combined her experience as a professional librarian with subject specialist knowledge. While there, she joined forces with the Keeper of the Royal Commonwealth Collection at the University Library to mount an exhibition of Travelling Qur’ans, one of which had been a bequest to the Woolf. Currently, she is representing St Edmund’s College as a key planner and co-chair of an international conference entitled, ‘Museums, Libraries & Archives: Back in the Frame’ (the theme derives from the abolition of the MLA in 2012 and looks at the creative and innovative ways museums, libraries and archives have adapted to the changes wrought by the move, including reduced funding). Among the speakers will be St Edmund’s Fellow Librarian, Suzanne Paul.
Susanne is an alumna of Lucy Cavendish where she read Theology. She is also an alumna of the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology and the Woolf Institute when it was the Centre for Jewish & Christian Relations. Her Master’s dissertation was undertaken under the supervision of the CJCR and was entitled, ‘Priests & Rabbis: Issues of Identity and Religious Authority in 19th Century English Literature ca 1828-1858’. Through close analysis of literary case studies, a common thread emerged in the way Jews and Catholics were pejoratively depicted as objects worthy of national suspicion in the person of the priest and the rabbi.
Outside librarianship, current and past work has included teaching introductory day courses in London on Judaism and the Abrahamic faiths and acting as a tutor in Religious Studies and English Literature. She is also an experienced editor and proof-reader. Prior to her work in the libraries of Cambridge University, Susanne worked for the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia with special responsibility for adult religious education, liturgy and interfaith work. The latter included the design, teaching and delivery of courses based on the Books of Job, Ruth and Genesis and special responsibility for services for Holocaust Memorial Day which drew academic speakers from Cambridge, as well as hosting forums for the furtherance of Christian & Islamic dialogue.
More recently, Susanne has written in an interfaith context on Abraham Joshua Heschel and Thomas Merton and given conference papers. In 2015, she gave a paper at the International Thomas Merton Society’s 100th Anniversary Conference in Louisville, Kentucky at which Rowan Williams was the key speaker. Her paper focused on Thomas Merton’s engagement with Jewish and Islamic religious figures and was published as an article in ‘Doctrine & Life’ in 2016. She is currently collaborating on a Jewish-Christian course book.